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My Thoughts After Being Cheated on in My First Relationship

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCD chapter.

In October of 2022, I published an article titled “Healing from a Breakup.” I reminisced about how beautiful and healthy of a relationship I had with my ex. I talked about how difficult it was for me to move on from the breakup because my ex was my first love, as well as my first relationship, and that despite the overwhelmingness of the pain, I knew I had to move on and heal. So I shared tips on what helped me in my healing journey. Fast forward 5 months, the healing journey’s been great but about a week ago, I found out that my ex had been carrying some guilt. He told me he had a confession to share in person and once I heard the confession, I was in utter shock: He had cheated on me. Not even 2 months into our relationship (when we were long distance over the summer), he had cheated on me with a stripper, and he told me 5 months after our breakup. Why? He didn’t even have basic human decency and couldn’t gather the courage to look me in the eye and tell me the truth when it originally happened, the truth that I deserved to know. After hearing this I was devastated, heartbroken and couldn’t even process how this person that I loved and trusted so much could betray me and disrespect me in such a cruel way. From that day on, my perception of him as this “nice, good guy” completely changed. I saw a different side of him—I’m guessing the real side. It’s crazy how I went from being so in love with this guy to now feeling pure disgust towards him now. I never saw any red flags in him, but maybe I was just too in love and delusional that I overlooked them. But even then, I never saw the cheating coming. I always thought he was such a man but the thing is, real men don’t cheat… boys do. I never thought my ex would stoop so low but he did, unfortunately.

Why did he cheat? He told me that he didn’t know why he did it — that he made a stupid mistake. He was sexually frustrated and the feeling he used to feel when he was with me, he felt then.

Did it boost his ego — cheating behind my back with another attractive woman?

Did it make him feel alive — caressing the body of someone new?

Or was he simply just a coward?

If you aren’t happy in a relationship, leave. If you no longer feel the same way about someone, then don’t drag them along. If you’re afraid that breaking up with them will hurt them, know that cheating only makes it worse.

I’ve heard so much about people getting cheated on but I never knew what it felt like. The feeling really sucks because you never deserved it. The associated emotions are rarely straightforward. You experience feelings of heartbreak, anger, and betrayal. You might start to doubt everything about yourself, your relationship, and your entire way of living. The thing is, whether or not you’re doing it to fill a void or just for the thrill of it, when you cheat on someone, you’re doing more than just hurting them. You may not be aware of the repercussions of your conduct, but for those of us who have been cheated on, it will always serve as some type of a reminder and haunt us. It is a concoction of heartbreak, anger, regret, anxiety, and shame all rolled into one.

I’ve now come to see that when someone mistreats you it has almost nothing to do with you. It’s their issue, not yours. It highlights that they have issues they need to work on. I’ve come to see that my ex’s flirtation and sexual behavior with other women had nothing to do with me not being good enough and everything to do with his insecurities. Because he wasn’t emotionally or intellectually mature enough to bolster his ego on his own, he turned to another woman for it. He was still caught in the pattern of believing that he required someone else to make him feel temporary happiness and self-pleasure that he turned to another woman. In my scenario, my ex was so drunk and sexually frustrated that he paid to have sex with the stripper, and that made him feel good, temporarily. He chose the feeling of lust over a girl that loved and respected him unconditionally. He threw loyalty, honesty, love, morals and values all down the drain from that moment. It showed me how he lacked so much emotional maturity and character.

I’ve come to learn that just because someone else cannot see our value and worth, it doesn’t mean we aren’t worthy of love or in general worthy enough. Our value is innate. Each of us is born deserving of love and being good enough. It is the truth, even if no one else in the world can see it. I am enough exactly as I am. I don’t need to be anything other than who I am. I have nothing to prove to anyone anymore. I’ve come to understand that it is my responsibility to act in my best interests and to have enough self-love to let go of anything that does not benefit or build me. I will always put me and my priorities first because no one can treat me better than I can. Being goal-oriented has always helped me to stay balanced and focused in life. I live by my character and morals and values. If anyone is to come into my life, they need to add to my life. I don’t need anyone to complete me. I will continue to thrive with or without someone regardless. 

Ritu is second-year Cognitive Science major at UCD. She enjoys working out, cooking, fashion and spending time with friends . Ritu is an advocate for self-love, mental health and spreading positivity & kindness. She is excited to be a part of the Her Campus team and hopes you enjoy reading her articles!